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Buyer's Brief – More Fright Than Freight

Limited capacity in both air and sea freight is leading to increased shipping costs, not to mention delays. Should consumers do their Christmas shopping early? Nick Peksa reports. This article first appeared in ESM's September/October 2021 edition.

Since mid-April, the UK has been experiencing a transportation crisis, primarily driven by Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. Supermarkets and food manufacturers alike are bracing themselves for a prolonged period of disruptions and potential stock-outs.

Logistics UK, which represents freight owners, including retailers, has estimated a shortage of 90,000 HGV drivers. This number also includes the 25,000 or so drivers from the EU that have returned home since the UK formally left the bloc.

HGV driving test backlogs are exacerbating the problem, with an estimated 45,000 drivers waiting to obtain their licenses. With this in mind, UK retailers have started to offer substantial signing-on bonuses to recruit new drivers.

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